Amazon working on Android app store, here we go again…

lotsofappstores - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Not grasping the connection between the existence of a product and getting it to consumers has sent more good ideas to the grave than anything else. When Apple announced the iPhone app store a few years ago, they took a product that had existed for years- mobile apps- and made it accessible to anyone and (literally) their grandmother, which we now know was a success like no other. Unfortunately not everyone got the memo of what made the app store such a success…

Android has some serious issues with being spread too thin. Not only are there 250 trillion different devices out there all doing things slightly different and running one of about 8 different versions of the OS currently in use, but they can’t even agree to use the same app store. One of the most epic pains my rear end has ever had to deal with was the AppsLib app store that Archos so thoughtfully put on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet when I had that last year. Not only was it practically impossible to make the app stay open for more than 5 seconds without crashing, but if that miracle actually occured you still only had a tiny handful of apps to choose from. There were other app stores available too, all with their tiny little handful of apps. In the end I had more app stores than I had apps because the apps I actually wanted didn’t exist on Android at all or were only available on the official Android Market. Someone did eventually manage to get that working on it though, but only free apps. Even now lots of devices are sold without Market installed, so you need a hack to get apps- something that (understandably) continues to annoy our writers. Honestly, wtf? If the same concept occured in real life, it would equal having to break into the local grocery store in order to pay for food.

Now Amazon wants to make it even more confusing by adding yet another app store to the mix. Pretty much every single manufacturer has an app store now, joined by the official Market and free app stores that people create just for the heck of it, and now a company who has no affiliation with Android whatsoever wants in on the fun. By doing so, it pushes Android even closer to the old days where getting apps for your Windows Mobile, PalmOS or Symbian smartphone meant spending a few hours googling around and hoping you’d find the app you needed somewhere on the Internet. If you have an iPad, at least you know that every single (non-jailbroken) app out there is available through the app store. You know that if you search for an app and can’t find something that does the job, there is no such thing. On Android, you now basically have to search through a couple of dozen app stores before you are absolutely sure that there is no such app, and you still have to consider the possibility that the app exists somewhere as a loose installation file (which brings up a whole other set of problems regarding the latest versions of the app etc).

To make things “interesting”, Amazon’s app store will be independent of devices and allow you to purchase apps before you buy the device. So, in other words, it’s iTunes. Amazon is also apparently going to decide how much the app is going to sell for, albeit with “some influence” from the developer. That is certainly going to be interesting, and I’d love to see the office building where they’ll house all the people who constantly update the price of 400k apps- assuming of course that Amazon will ever reach the same number of apps as the iOS app store and have the same number of sales going on every single day.

I honestly can’t classify this project as anything but blatantly stupid. To quote George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Having apps spread across different app stores is so beyond stupid that it makes me wonder if Karl Pilkington is running these companies. I’m all for choice, but there’s something to be said for not being able to see the forest because of all the trees. Although in this case, it’s more like not being able to find a tree because you have no idea what forest it’s in.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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